Dreams Nursed in Darkness: Tommy Orange’s There, There

The best way to understand the ending of There, There, Tommy Orange’s new novel, is to remember that the bullets were always coming.  Orange tells you this in the non-fiction prologue to the book where he describes what it’s like to be a Native American today.  The Europeans who ‘settled’ the land “fired their guns […]

Burning from Beginning to End with Scott Cairns

It’s all here.  Beginnings and endings.  Heaven and hell.  Divine intentions and bodily appetites.  That’s what you get with the poet Scott Cairns.  Look for the kitchen sink.  I’m sure it’s in there, too. Recently I came back for a season to Philokalia: New & Selected Poems, Cairns’ 2002 collection.  It’s as rich and evocative […]

In Praise of Bad Writing: David Bentley Hart’s New Testament

The New Testament, as translated by the influential Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart, is bad.  But that’s what makes it such a good read for Christians who need their settled understandings tweaked. Hart’s new translation doesn’t strive for literary heights. He has an ear for beautiful language, something that comes through in all of his […]